Thursday 12th July 2012, at Oxford Street, Rossington
Pre season friendly
Rossington Main (0) 1 - Own Goal 77
Harworth Colliery Institute (0) 1- Gaz Sides 24
Admission free, No programme, Attendance 125
On a mild night in South Yorkshire, these two neighbouring sides, NCEL Division 1 side, Rossington Main and Harworth Colliery, of the Central Midlands League North, played out a game that was a useful work out for both teams, if a little bereft of actual clear cut goalscoring opportunities.
'Rosso' obviously had a few decent players up front, who they introduced on a rotational basis, but Harworth put up a decent rearguard action and weren't ever overawed or unduly troubled by the presence or stature of any the players from an higher division, most of the time.
Rossington had the better of the few chances there were to be had, but, in the main, their finishing was of the 'pre season' variety, i.e. they're still building up their sharpness for the campaign ahead.
Harworth's pre season preparations were somewhat curtailed, when manager Lee Danysz left to take over at Winterton Rangers and took most of their team with him (5 of them).
With all due respect to the players concerned, they've done a great job at the Scrooby Road club, but the step up to the NCEL Premier Division, might prove to be too big for some of them.
I can't imagine Winterton fans getting too excited about their team getting an influx of Central Midlands League players, to replace the ones who have followed outgoing manager Richard Sennett to Retford United.
But good luck to all the ex Harworth lads who've moved to West Street to try their hand at a higher level of football anyway.
Ironically, Winterton Rangers will be visiting Rossington this coming Saturday too, for another friendly game.
Either way, now Lee Danysz and a bulk of the players he had under him at Harworth have gone, it was good to see the commitment shown tonight, from the lads who obviously still want to do well for the North Notts club. It's a close knit set up at Scrooby Road and they'll galvanise quickly.
Players and managers come and go, but the gritty determination and spirit of this community orientated club shone through out on the pitch, at Rossington's Oxford Street, which stands just 6 miles to the north of the Colliery Institute side's ground.
Sure it was only a friendly, but a scratch CMFL side, containing reserve and Under 19's players, playing away against an established and very useful NCEL club, should surely have been a home banker if ever there was one.
Ironically, maybe a good shake up, even an enforced one, is just what the Bircotes based side need and a lot of positives will come to the fore, from what is currently perceived as turmoil and upheaval.
In non league football, at the start of every new season, there will always be a massive turnover of players and coaches, but clubs like Harworth Colliery Institute (established 1931) have been around for a long time, withstanding all manner of dramatic changes, and they will still be around, long after the current personnel changes have been consigned to history and completely forgotten about.
Feel free to quote me on the above in a couple of years time ;-)
Gaz Sides hooked home a shot from the edge of the Rossington penalty area on 24 minutes to put the visitors ahead.
Given the makeshift nature of the Harworth team, most people, including those who'd travelled the short distance from North Notts, would've expected the home side to move up a gear and draw level before piling on the pressure to get a result now.
But the Main came up against a determined, resilient and well organised side, who showed that team work and hard graft could overcome the gap in class between the two clubs respective leagues.
The new Harworth manager Brendan Wilson's influence is already evident and in promoting Jonny Wilson from the reserves as his assistant, he'll have a good insight into which players he can call on from the reserve and Under 19 set ups too. Also in attendance was a slimline version of Hasan Hussein from the Under 19's management team ... it's apparent that if you're taking on Harworth Colliery, you're taking on the whole club.
I wonder if Winterton Rangers fancy a trip to Scrooby Road in the near future!?
Rossington had one line up for the first half and another for the second.
After the break they had the bulk of possession and looked dangerous attacking down the wings, but although a few of the Harworth lads were looking absolutely knackered, they were still hanging on and shutting the home side out in the final third.
But on 77 minutes, Marcel Chipamunga, making his (lively) début for Main, knocked the ball over the top of the visitors defence for Adam Wisdom to run on to. Wisdom, who had looked strong since he entered the fray after half time, played Scott Maughan in and his shot went in via a wicked deflection.
The goal was a cruel blow for Harworth who had defended well, but it had looked like it had been coming for a while, if only Rossington could breech the last line of a stubborn and determined defence.
With two minutes to go, Harworth very nearly turned the tables on the NCEL side, by nicking the game with a late winner; but when Walker latched on to an upfield clearance and battled through towards the Rossington goal on his own, the ball held up on the turf and he put his shot narrowly wide.
Final score 1-1.